Investigating the Role of PDE4D1/2 in Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Desensitization
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Vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) behaviour and phenotypic modulation is critical to vessel repair following damage, and the progression of various cardiovascular diseases. The second messenger cyclic adenosine monophosphosphate (cAMP) plays a key role in VSMC function under the synthetic/activated phenotype, which is typically associated with unhealthy cell behaviour. Consequently, cAMP signaling is often targeted in attempts to impact several pathological diseases, including atherosclerosis, restenosis, and pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). The cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases (PDEs) catalyze hydrolysis of cAMP to an inactive form, and therefore directly regulate cAMP signaling. The PDE4D family dominates in synthetic VSMCs, and there is considerable interest in determining how distinct PDE4D isoforms affect cell function. Specifically, we are interested in the potential link between short isoforms of PDE4D and VSMC desensitization to pharmacological agents that impact cardiovascular disease via cAMP signaling. This study extends on previous work that assessed the expression of PDE4D splice variants in rat aortic VSMCs following prolonged challenge with cAMP-elevating agents. It was determined that PDE4D1 and PDE4D2 were uniquely expressed in synthetic VSMCs incubated with these agents, and that this upregulation impacted PDE activity and cAMP accumulation in these cells. Here, we report that PDE4D1 and PDE4D2 are markedly upregulated in synthetic human aortic smooth muscle cells (HASMCs) following prolonged challenge with cAMP-elevating agents. Using a combination of RNAi-based and pharmacological approaches, we establish that this upregulation is reflected in levels of cAMP PDE activity, and restricted to the cytosolic sub-cellular compartment. Our results suggest a role for localized PDE4D1 and PDE4D2 activity in regulating cAMP-mediated desensitization in HASMCs, and highlight their therapeutic potential in treating various cardiovascular diseases.